School board weighs Jubilee request

Published 11:01 pm Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Selma City School Board discussed the idea of waiving the fees for many of the events held in system facilities during the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee — a request and a practice granted in recent years.

Specifically, the event organizers requested fees be waived for the use of R.B. Hudson Middle School, Selma High School gymnasium and auditorium and School of Discovery’s Pickard Auditorium for March 1 through March 4.

Board President Henry Hicks Sr. told the board that in the past, several organizations have asked the fees be waived to use the facilities, and some fees were waived for the event last year.

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Board member Dr. Kirit Chapatwalla said the board should look at what’s been done in the past.

“This could turn into a precedent for year after year,” he said.

The rental fees for the facilities of R.B. Hudson gym and auditorium are $300 a piece, Selma High gym and auditorium are $800 a piece and School of Discovery’s Pickard Auditorium is $600.

“Even if we decide [to waive] the fees we still need to have something in place for the janitors. There’s a lot of traffic during that time, because that’s one of Selma’s most popular events. We want to make sure this lovely facility stays like this,” board member Brenda Randolph-Obomanu said.

“The key to this is nothing’s free,” board member Frank Chestnut Jr. said. “So at the end of the day these prices — we came up with these prices based on the fact that we’ll have an employee on the premises, we’ll have a janitor and we’ll have security. So it’s just something to really think about because this could turn into a thing of favoritism, again, perception to the community and our fairness and how we make decisions.”

Hicks explained that for any event held on school property a school employee has to be there to manage the building in addition to security and custodians.

“The Jubilee is something, that really at the end of the day, benefits Selma. I do concur that we did set prices for these buildings,” Hicks said. “If we are not participating in the event, we should give them some sort of in-kind services. If they were willing to pay for security, a custodian, and whoever that person is to manage the building, then the only thing we would be waiving would be the building fee.”

For example, Hicks said, “If we waived that $600, they’re still responsible for, if they agree to it — they may say ‘well if you’re not going to waive all of it, we don’t want it.’ That’s up to them. We waive the fee for the building, and they’re responsible for security, a custodian and whoever’s going to be here from the school taking care of taking care of the building.”

The board said they will continue to view cases like this on a case-by-case basis and this is just one possibility they are thinking about, and “not necessarily what we’re going to do. We’ve got three months to make a decision,” Hicks said.

The next Selma City School Board meeting is Dec. 13.